Summer 2024 - PHIL 805 G100

Selected Topics in Philosophy of Mind (5)


Class Number: 3659

Delivery Method: In Person


  • Course Times + Location:

    May 6 – Aug 2, 2024: Fri, 9:30 a.m.–12:20 p.m.



Selected Topics: Sensations

[Note: this course is to be taught concurrently with PHIL 467W D100.]

Important note regarding enrollment: All seats are reserved for Philosophy Graduate students. Enrollments from other departments will be considered only upon submission of the Graduate Course Add Form, and with instructor's permission. All such enrollments will be done in or after the first week of classes.

The notion of sensations has a long and complex history. In theories of perception, philosophers as well as psychologists have traditionally subscribed to a three-part sensation-perception-cognition taxonomy. Sensations are supposed to comprise the initial stage of the process of perception: what the sensory transducers provide our perceptual system as the basis of its inference-like processing to conclusions about the world around us They are the way colours, sounds, tastes, smells, etc. appear to us; what perceptual consciousness consists in.

We will look at some of the historical roots of the notion of sensation, arguments for their existence, and some of the philosophical arguments that sensations have played a role in such as the argument from illusion and once again physicalism based on qualia. But the main aim of the course is to explore whether the notion of sensation is a coherent one. I want to at least suggest that there are no sensations.


Successful completion of this course will satisfy the “M&E Stream” distribution requirement toward the MA degree for Philosophy graduate students.


  • Participation, including 6 reading summaries 15%
  • 2 presentations 20%
  • Final paper with draft 65%



All materials will be available on Canvas.


Your personalized Course Material list, including digital and physical textbooks, are available through the SFU Bookstore website by simply entering your Computing ID at:

Graduate Studies Notes:

Important dates and deadlines for graduate students are found here: The deadline to drop a course with a 100% refund is the end of week 2. The deadline to drop with no notation on your transcript is the end of week 3.

Registrar Notes:


SFU’s Academic Integrity website is filled with information on what is meant by academic dishonesty, where you can find resources to help with your studies and the consequences of cheating. Check out the site for more information and videos that help explain the issues in plain English.

Each student is responsible for his or her conduct as it affects the university community. Academic dishonesty, in whatever form, is ultimately destructive of the values of the university. Furthermore, it is unfair and discouraging to the majority of students who pursue their studies honestly. Scholarly integrity is required of all members of the university.


Students with a faith background who may need accommodations during the term are encouraged to assess their needs as soon as possible and review the Multifaith religious accommodations website. The page outlines ways they begin working toward an accommodation and ensure solutions can be reached in a timely fashion.